Compiled by Savithri Rodrigo


Thayyebah Javed believes that the youth can make a positive difference

Q: What’s the good, the bad and the ugly here in Sri Lanka?

A: As someone who was born and bred in Sri Lanka, I agree that we as a country have our flaws. However, the remarkable characteristics of Sri Lankans are their warm hospitality and helpful nature when someone is in need.

The ‘bad’ side refers to unnecessary racial issues that people have prompted, which bring the country to a standstill. And the ‘ugly’ is the tsunami of corrupt politics that serves as a graveyard for development that is imperative.

Q: Do you see changes in the spheres of health and women’s empowerment?

A: We are fortunate to receive free healthcare from the state but many people don’t opt for it due to issues of overcrowding, mistreatment of patients etc.

It would be good if improved health facilities can be provided to people who cannot afford private healthcare by way of much cleaner hospitals, and better technology and patient care. If more young doctors were to remain in Sri Lanka, that would also be good.

We’re now at a point where no job is defined by gender. Stereotypes are being debunked – for instance, with women becoming pilots. The overprotective bubble around women has been burst. We will see more women becoming independent and stepping into all roles with pride.

Q: What opportunities do you see for young Sri Lankans such as yourself?

A: Young people want to be recognised, have well-paying jobs and feel settled. However, in Sri Lanka this may seem like a dream unless one has political influence or been educated at a highly recognised school. This must change; and it can be changed only if youth such as myself work for it to change.

The recipe for change can be challenging; but tons of will, great courage, trust and most importantly unity can work. If these are combined, no force can stop us from flourishing. However, while the opportunity is there, the voice of our youth must emerge from the coffin that has been buried deep down somewhere.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

A: I see myself bringing my aspirations to life. I’ll work with youth to cater to the world’s demands and help improve the security of my country. Moreover, I view myself as a voice for the voiceless.

Q: And where do you see Sri Lanka in 10 years’ time?

A: My country will be flourishing in the spheres of education, healthcare and technology, and with many more openings for people who are forced to move overseas due to a lack of opportunity that has been snuffed out by poisonous politics.

I see the weeds of political and school network based influence being uprooted, and genuine opportunities for young people emerging. Furthermore, people will be content and Sri Lanka will be known as a fully developed country.

Q: How do you view global poverty and food shortages?

A: I feel that global poverty and food shortages require immediate action since millions of people die each day due to a lack of food or poor sanitation. Many underprivileged people around the globe have no access to clean water or proper shelter, which constantly poses dangers to them.

Shedding a few tears and burying it in the back of our minds isn’t good enough. It’s time to take charge and make a change!

Q: And how do you view the growing importance of social media today?

A: In a world where Facebook and Instagram convey more world news than newspapers, and have become platforms for people to voice their ideas, I believe that social media is of paramount importance as it connects people all over the world.

It has also become a great platform for e-commerce, which dominatesthe economy and lifestyles of people today.

Q: Where do you see the world in 10 years’ time?

A: Flying cars could be a reality! The world will evolve in terms of technology and AI.

Individuals will have broader thinking and a greater understanding of life. There will be no racial issues and communities will thrive on equality.

Global poverty and greed will be eradicated. Every individual will be a warrior, building the world that we once dreamed of.